The Audi Q8 e-tron is a premium all-electric SUV, which effectively replaces the original e-tron. The new model features an even larger battery pack, giving it a more usable and respectable driving range of 250-270 miles; along with the supremely comfortable experience, stylish and practical design, it received our Best Buy award.
Aside from the changes in battery capacity and a few alterations in its looks, the rest of the Q8 e-tron remains largely unchanged from its predecessor – that includes the audio system. As standard, there’s a 10-speaker ‘Audi audio system’ that outputs 180 Watts of power.
By adding the £2,995 ‘Technology Pack’ or opting for the Vorsprung trim, one gets the Bang & Olufsen system that outputs 705 Watts through its 16 speakers, which we previously reviewed on both the e-tron and e-tron S; the upgraded configuration also features as standard in the SQ8 e-tron. On review, however, is the stock system.
Audi Q8 e-tron audio setup
To tweak the audio settings, one can navigate through Audi’s comprehensive 10.1″ infotainment system to find a dedicated ‘Sound’ menu. Here are our optimal settings:
- Treble: +1
- Bass: -1
- Focus: All
- Balance & fader: Centre
- Speed dependent volume control: +3
It’s rather disappointing that the mids and highs are bundled into a singular category. Any adjustments made to the ‘Treble’ EQ will alter both the mid and high frequencies.
To connect up to Audi’s MMI system, both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are supported over a wired or wireless smartphone connection. If you’d prefer to connect over Bluetooth, the SBC and AAC codecs are supported only. As such, we’d recommend a wired connection for the utmost audio fidelity.
Audi Q8 e-tron audio performance
For a demo of the Audi Q8 e-tron’s audio system head on over to our YouTube channel.
The stock system features 10 speakers that output a total of 180 Watts. At the front, there are woofers found within each of the doors, tweeters at each extremity of the dashboard and a mid-range driver found at the centre. At the back, there are woofers/full-range drivers found within each of the doors along with tweeters too. In the boot, there’s a subwoofer.
The inclusion of the latter speaker is certainly appreciated, as it helps bolster the system’s capability to produce some low-end rumble. Songs that have that pronounced extension are treated with a lively tone. However, due to the size and quality of the speaker, it fails to extend into the lower echelons of the frequency range, with the likes of ‘Check’ by Kojo Funds & Raye sounding a bit tame in the Q8 e-tron. In this department, the upgraded B&O system delivers better low-end extension, while competitors such as the BMW iX3, Tesla Model Y, Volvo XC40 and C40 Recharge, Genesis Electrified GV70 and even the Kia Soul EV do a far better job.
Thankfully, however, the speakers within each of the four doors have been tuned to provide a lively and exciting impact in the mid-bass tones. Granted, Audi could have perfected the frequency band, but that’s us nitpicking.
Similarly, the highs extend relatively well at the top end, namely due to the inclusion of dedicated tweeters at both the front and rear of the cabin. Again, it’s not quite as exquisite as some of its competitors, but one still gets that extra clarity without any ear fatigue.
Unfortunately, what really lets down the system are the mid-range tones. They’re overly recessed and pushed back, which leaves much to be desired especially in vocal tracks. While the B&O system isn’t leagues ahead, it’s still relatively competent in reproducing accurate mids – alas, the same couldn’t be said about the stock system.
Now one might be quick to ramp up the ‘Treble’ EQ through the infotainment system, but doing so will also alter the already-zingy highs. It is rather disappointing to see both the mids and highs lobbed into a singular EQ control. Had this not been the case, the mids might have come out sounding better thanks to independent controls. Alas, one has to make do with a V-shaped sound signature.
Another area of disappointment is the soundstage – the width and depth are lacking while the instrument separation is average at best. Yet again, the B&O system does a better job in the latter department but equally sound a bit uni-directional. Effectively, both systems are a bit closed sounding, with the stock system on review rather limited in its ability to envelope you in music.
While the Q8 e-tron’s stock system doesn’t really perform well across the entire frequency range, the vehicle’s cabin is extremely well-insulated. Much like the original e-tron and e-tron S, it has one of the quietest cabins we’ve ever come across. Both at slow and fast speeds, one will be treated with a serene interior. Using a sound meter we recorded: 35 dBA at a standstill; 48-51 dBA, while driving at 20-30mph; 52-55 dBA, while driving at 40mph; and 62-65 dBA when at 70mph.
Those are insanely low figures, especially considering the size of the vehicle. As standard, all trims are treated with an acoustically glazed windscreen, however, you can opt to better the experience by option for the £550 ‘Acoustic glazing side windows’ option. We think this option is redundant given the Q8 e-tron already has a very quiet cabin – note, our vehicle didn’t have it fitted and given the option was previously removed by the manufacturer, it is rather surprising to see its return.
TotallyEV’s verdict on the Audi Q8 e-tron’s audio system
Truthfully, we’ve been left disheartened by the stock audio system. Given the Q8 e-tron starts from £67,800, one would have expected a far better audio system to be fitted as standard by the German manufacturer.
The upgraded Bang & Olufsen system certainly does help better the experience, and while it’s not the best system out there, we’d advise getting the £2,995 ‘Technology’ pack, particularly if you’re into audio.
It is a rather expensive option, especially as it used to be comprised within the ‘Comfort and Sound Pack’ that cost £1,895. With that said, the new ‘Technology’ pack gets you Multi Colour Interior Ambient Lighting, Head-Up Display, 360-degree cameras, Park Assist with Parking Aid and Park Assist Plus, which is more than what you used to get.
Elsewhere, you’ve got excellent audio systems comprised within the Tesla Model Y, BMW iX3, Volvo XC40 and C40 Recharge, Genesis Electrified GV70 and Kia Soul EV. All worthwhile considerations if audio is among one of your top priorities.